Privacy? What Privacy?

My apologies for not posting for a while. A semi-insane work assignment covering for a fellow engineer on vacation and an aggressive workout schedule have not left much time for blogging. But that doesn’t mean that I’ve quit thinking about stuff! So without much more delay, here goes…

Some time ago, much ado was made about the NSA’s program for searching for patterns in phone records and tapping known overseas terrorist phone lines. Opponents stated right to privacy, which shouldn’t be a concern unless you are doing something, well, more than stupid. But still, what privacy do you think you have? Damn little, and I’ll explain why.

Let’s start first with the computer. Every site you visit (including this one) has the capability of recording your IP address, server you’re accessing the internet through, general location, and other information. Some sites could even backtrack to your home address and phone number. Sure, there are utilities that would mask all of that, but your service provider would still keep a record of your access times and sites visited. This is to aid any legal law-enforcement agency in a criminal investigation, and for the service provider’s legal protection. So anonymous surfing really isn’t so anonymous unless you are at a public computer or access point. Of course, this doesn’t include any spyware, tracking cookies, and all the other “fun” stuff that’s out there, but you get the idea.

Next on the list are applications. For instance, a loan application. How much information do you really put down? Social Security number, income, job history, credit cards, past loan history, past residences, etc. are all pieces of information about ourselves that we semi-freely give out. Of course we hope that the company and its employees are trustworthy, but who really knows?

Do you know what your credit score is? In today’s world of loans and credit, this is the question that we are hit with day in and day out. Buy now & pay later with a low interest. Always a thought, but do you realize that three companies keep track of your credit? And if they make a mistake, it’s absolute Hell to get it corrected. And since they have your credit information, they also have tons of your personal information. How else can they calculate your credit score?

How about those credit cards? Besides furnishing information to apply for one, every time you make a purchase, that sale is recorded. Buying habits are recorded, and sometimes sold to marketing researching or sales concerns. Same goes for those barcode keyfobs that often come with membership into discount clubs like Sam’s Club or Costco. This information is also used to build a profile of your interests and buying habits, and you then become a target for specific sales advertising & promotions. And you thought that the dinner-time telemarketer phone call was totally random…

Of course, what dissertation on privacy wouldn’t be complete without a mention of everyone’s favorite yearly thrill – the tax return. Think of the kind of information that you must provide. Enough said…

Quite frankly, I’m more concerned about my personal & soon to be medical information floating around on the internet and various businesses than I am about some lousy phone records. And by the way, I’m not paranoid – I know the world is out to get me…


About Tom Roland

EE for 25 Years, Two Patents - now a certified PMP. Married twice, burned once. One son with Asperger's Syndrome. Two cats. Conservative leaning to the Right. NRA Life Member.
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One Response to Privacy? What Privacy?

  1. Tom says:

    Tom, your forgiven for your lack of posts, I knew you were probably just busy. Privacy? What privacy? Privacy is a thing of days gone by, many days gone by, decades actually. I’m not paranoid either.. hey what was that click I heard when I was on the phone talking to my Mom?
    Pamela | Homepage | 06.04.06 – 5:09 pm | #

    All of my data has been stolen with the rest of the vets in this country. I just hope if they are going to buy crap, they have good taste!
    Teresa | Homepage | 06.06.06 – 11:29 am | #

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